Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin is looking to hire a developer of habitable space stations

  • Blue Origin intends to hire an "Orbital Habitat Formulation Lead," representing Jeff Bezos' company taking its first step toward developing habitable space stations.
  • The hiring fits squarely at the center of Bezos' vision for Blue Origin, which is to get to where "millions of people are living and working in space to benefit Earth."
  • Blue Origin joins a small group of companies that are working to build habitable space stations.

Blue Origin, founded by billionaire Jeff Bezos, is looking to hire an "Orbital Habitat Formulation Lead," according to a job posting earlier this week.

The intended hiring represents the company's first step toward developing habitable space stations. It's a move that fits squarely at the center of Bezos' vision for Blue Origin, which is to get to where "millions of people are living and working in space to benefit Earth," especially by moving "industries that stress Earth into space."

"Blue Origin's Formulation Lead for the Orbital Habitat product line … will lead development of technical concepts, product strategies, business cases, customer relationships, market-shaping outreach, industrial partnerships, implementation approaches, and supply chain," the company wrote in the job posting.

The habitable space stations that Blue Origin wants to build would be "fundamentally different" compared to the International Space Station that currently orbits the Earth. While the ISS is essentially a laboratory focused on microgravity research, Blue Origin describes its space stations as a "destination" for people, distinct from habitats designed "for small, professionally trained crews." The company plans to build and launch such space stations within the next decade.

Blue Origin joins a small group of companies that are working to build habitable space stations. Nanoracks and Bigelow Aerospace have both tested hardware on the ISS, although the latter of the two companies reportedly halted operations and laid off its workforce amid the coronavirus pandemic. Nanoracks and recently established competitor Axiom Space are each working on hardware that will attach to the ISS, with the goal of building separate habitable space stations.

Among the responsibility listed for Blue Origin's ideal space station development lead, the company said a person should have an "extensive NASA network" in order "to shape and accelerate the acquisition strategy" of the company's habitats.

Building space stations would be the next piece in Blue Origin's business. Since its founding just over 20 years ago, Bezos' company has worked to develop next-generation rockets and rocket engines, as well as a capsule capable of carrying humans to the edge of space for short flights and a lunar lander to bring NASA astronauts and cargo down to the Moon's surface. Blue Origin has yet to fly passengers on its rockets, with CEO Bob Smith earlier this year saying the company's New Shepard rocket will need to fly three or four more test flights before it puts people on board.

Bezos personally funds Blue Origin's development by selling part of his stock in Amazon. While he has previously said that he sells about $1 billion of Amazon shares annually to fund the space company, Bezos has recently increased his stock sales, selling more than $7.2 billion worth this year and $2.8 billion in 2019 – suggesting he has increased his annual investment in Blue Origin.

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